Family, countryside and curry keep Koch going

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tristan Koch

American Airlines Cargo, Managing Director for Europe, Africa, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent

Tristan Koch was a policy advisor on environmental issues for the UK government when the urge to move to a more dynamic and challenging industry came up. He found his niche in the air cargo industry.
“I wanted to work at a faster pace and a friend introduced me to the cargo industry. The ever changing challenges that face us are what keep me engaged and enthused,” said Koch who has a degree in geography from the Southampton University before taking up his Master’s in Environmental Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Since that move in 2011, Koch has been the managing director of cargo sales for Europe and Middle East at American Airlines Cargo.
“There is no typical day in my role. I try and find the right balance between spending time with my customers, my team and still find time to plan our strategy – not an easy task,” said Koch who also served as UK and Ireland sales manager at British Airways World Cargo. He first joined the firm as alliance development manager.
As one who has been exposed to both the public and private sectors, Koch has many insights and philosophies on how to keep going despite the odds on both worlds.
“I have many but my favorites are: “Making mistakes can often be the quickest way to learn, just don’t repeat them too often”; “Rank is not a measure of intellect or ability just a point in a career – don’t be hindered by hierarchy, we all have valuable contributions to make”; “I pinched this one from Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” – be curious.”
“And lastly, take time away from work and have other interests it makes you a better person.”
The jolly cargo executive who loves the countryside shares more of his personal thoughts with Air Cargo Update in this edition of The Lounge with emphasis on “family and curry” as among the things he can’t live without.
When the going gets tough at work, how do you calm yourself?
I rarely get stressed out but if I do need a break I go for a walk in the countryside with my dog and clear my head.
In the morning, do you prefer coffee or tea and why?
Silly question. The English drink (English Breakfast) tea in the morning we all know that.
What is vacation like for you and your family?
Always too short and too expensive – I have 2 teenage daughters that professionally shop. I like to drive somewhere they want to fly, but I fly too much already. We all enjoy doing something active though – ski, swim, sail, fish, cycle…

Which place would you like to live if given the chance and why?
I lived in Australia in my 20s and would love to live there again – I was at The Sheraton Mirage on the beach at Noosa in Queensland. Heathrow as wonderful as it is just doesn’t quite have the same charm/weather.
What sport/s do you enjoy the most and why?
I still like playing football (the proper sort with a round ball) although my appearances and performances are now consummate with my age which is frustrating. But I prefer watching rugby as I had to give it up at a relatively early age and miss it, but it’s more fun watching others getting knocked about. Rugby crowds are also the most sociable you will meet.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve done and how did it feel?
Got married – think I better not comment.
Please name three things you can’t live without?
My family, the countryside and curry.